Despite the fact that we know weight loss is simply a matter of calories in vs. calories out, that doesn’t stop many of us from latching onto every new diet fad. There’s just something about a new eating plan that holds such promise, like it’s finally the golden ticket to that svelte bod we’ve always dreamed of. It’s no secret that this time of year of rife for jumping on the diet bandwagon and according to a new study, us millennials are some of the biggest culprits.
Business Insider surveyed 1037 people about their New Year’s resolutions and of the survey sample’s millennials (aged 18-29), 119 said their resolution for 2019 was diet related. The study also looked into the specific diets that millennials wanted to try in 2019.
The most popular choice was the low carb diet, with 31.1% of millennials expressing interest in it. While the ketogenic diet has been the most popular low carb diet in last few years, there has recently been various offshoots of it, including the ketotarian diet and mild keto. This type of diet has been found to be effective for shedding fat quickly, but many people find it highly unsustainable due to cutting out nearly all carbs. There have also been minimal studies into the long-term effects of low carb diets on the body.
The next most popular diet was a reduced calorie diet, with 23.5% of respondents saying they would like to try it. This is a more of a diet in the traditional sense of the word, and of course you are going to lose weight if you eat less calories than you burn (provided you’re counting accurately). However, religiously counting calories can lead to obsessive behaviour and an unhealthy relationship with food. If you’re purely focusing on calorie count and not the macronutrients or food quality, it can also make it difficult to lose fat and gain muscle or maintain optimal health.
A further 19.3% stated they specifically wanted to try the ketogenic diet, while 9.2% showed interest in Atkins—a diet that includes both low carb and higher carb phases. 16.8% were keen to try the Weight Watchers diet, which uses a point system to calculate calories, sugar, protein and saturated fat. Interestingly, 15.1% of millennials were keen to try a low fat diet, including fruit, vegetables and grains while avoiding full-fat dairy and meat products—the literal opposite of a low carb diet.
15.1% of the millennials surveyed said they were interested in going vegetarian in 2019, while just 5% wanted to go vegan. 6.2% said they were interested in trying intermittent fasting, 5.9% for gluten-free and 4.2% for paleo. These are surprising results, as not long ago, these were the diets du jour!
The answer is always going to be the approach to eating that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle and allows you to eat without guilt while maintaining optimal health. For many people, this means no diet at all! Rather, it may be able intuitively eating or just trying to achieve a good balance of nutrients while occasionally indulging in less-healthy foods.